Higher Learning Commission taps NDSCS for Accreditation Project
by NDSCS News
Posted on 5/10/2011
Project may help transform U.S. higher education
For the next two years, North Dakota State College of Science will collaborate with the Higher Learning Commission and the Lumina Foundation in piloting the Degree Qualifications Profile-or qualifications framework-that illustrates clearly what students should be expected to know and be able to do once they earn their degrees.
The Degree Profile proposes specific leaning outcomes that benchmark the associate, bachelors, and master's degrees regardless of the field of specialization. NDSCS was asked to participate in the project as a college with both strong career and technical education as well as liberal arts education at the associate degree level.
"NDSCS is privileged to be called upon for our perspective on the validity of the proposed learning outcomes for two-year college programs," said Dr. John Richman, NDSCS president. "This project has the potential to help transform U.S. higher education, with a focus on what students learn that is rich and complex."
Institutions will use the Degree Profile to compare their current curricula, co-curricular supporting activities, defined learning outcomes, and assessment results with the Degree Profile's outcomes for broad areas of learning, performance levels, cumulative integration of learning, and application of learning. In this way, institutions will evaluate and provide commentary on the Profile itself, as well as evaluate and formulate plans to improve programs. The Degree Profiles emphasizes both the integration of learning from many sources and the application of learning in a variety of settings realized through assessments that validate student accomplishment.
"We welcome the opportunity to evaluate our programs using the proposed guidelines of the Degree Profile and figuring out how the Profile applies to each of our programs," said Dr. Gloria Dohman, NDSCS vice president for Institutional Effectiveness. "We are energized by the prospect of helping to develop an accreditation process that moves U.S. higher education toward a shared understanding of what outcomes students can expect from various degrees." The value for students will be a clearer understanding of their degree choices and a roadmap for navigating their options.
One of twenty-three institutions in this cohort funded through a grant from the Lumina Foundation, NDSCS is the only North Dakota institution.